USDA Forest Service Invests More Than $232M to Support Schools, Roads, Other Services as Part of Investing in America Agenda

Apr 15, 2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced it is issuing more than $232 million to support public schools, roads and other municipal services through the agency’s Secure Rural Schools program. As the Biden-Harris administration invests in ways for forests to generate more economic opportunity in rural areas, it also aims to support the quality of life in those communities through programs like Secure Rural Schools. The program was reauthorized for fiscal years 2021 through 2023 through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Fiscal year 2023 funds will be paid to 745 eligible counties in 41 states and Puerto Rico.

“National forests and grasslands cover more than 193 million acres, including across rural counties that are important partners in helping sustainably manage resources,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Secure Rural Schools program is able to contribute to the economic vitality and well-being of the communities intertwined with our forests.”

“The Secure Rural Schools program is just one of the ways the Forest Service supports communities nationwide,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “This funding aids schools and roads, reimburses counties for national forest emergency services, and assists in creating community wildfire protection plans – all critical programs designed to enhance the quality of life in these communities.”

In addition to Secure Rural Schools payments, the Forest Service is using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act funding to improve forest conditions, support local economies and create jobs by investing in forest restoration projects, road and trail maintenance, recreation opportunities and wood innovation development.

Over the past 10 years, the Forest Service has distributed $2.4 billion through the Secure Rural Schools program.

The Forest Service retains some of the funding to support projects that improve forest conditions and support jobs in rural communities. Resource advisory committees made up of residents representing varied interests and areas of expertise review and recommend the projects that meet their local needs.

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